Cluster B Personality Disorders (Antisocial, Borderline, Histrionic, Narcissistic)

What are personality disorders? Personality disorders are a type of mental disorder characterized by maladaptive thoughts and behaviors, and are split into three clusters (A, B and C). Cluster B is called the dramatic, emotional, and erratic cluster. It includes:

  • Borderline Personality Disorder.
  • Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
  • Histrionic Personality Disorder.
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder.

 

Borderline Personality Disorder:

People with Borderline Personality Disorder tend to experience intense and unstable emotions and moods that can shift fairly quickly. They generally have a hard time calming down once they have become upset. As a result, they frequently have angry outbursts and engage in impulsive behaviors such as substance abuse, risky sexual liaisons, self-injury, overspending, or binge eating. These behaviors often function to sooth them in the short-term, but harm them in the longer term.

  • People with Borderline Personality Disorder tend to see the world in polarized, over-simplified, all-or-nothing terms.
  • They apply their harsh either/or judgments to others and to themselves and their perceptions of themselves and others may quickly vacillate back and forth between “all good” and “all bad.”
  • This tendency leads to an unstable sense of self, so that persons with this disorder tend to have a hard time being consistent.
  • They can frequently change careers, relationships, life goals, or residences. Quite often these radical changes occur without any warning or advance preparation.
  • Their main defense mechanism is splitting.

 

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder* have significant problems with their sense of self-worth stemming from a powerful sense of entitlement. This leads them to believe they deserve special treatment, and to assume they have special powers, are uniquely talented, or that they are especially brilliant or attractive. Their sense of entitlement can lead them to act in ways that fundamentally disregard and disrespect the worth of those around them.

  • People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder are preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success and power, so much so that they might end up getting lost in their daydreams while they
    fantasize about their superior intelligence or stunning beauty.
  • These people can get so caught up in their fantasies that they don’t put any effort into their daily life and don’t direct their energies toward accomplishing their goals.
  • They may believe that they are special and deserve special treatment, and may display an attitude that is arrogant and haughty.
    • This can create a lot of conflict with other people who feel exploited and who dislike being treated in a condescending fashion.
  • People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder often feel devastated when they realize that they have normal, average human limitations; that they are not as special as they think, or that others don’t admire them as much as they would like.

 

Histrionic Personality Disorder

Persons with Histrionic Personality Disorder* are characterized by a pattern of excessive emotionality and attention seeking. Their lives are full of drama (so-called “drama queens”). They are uncomfortable in situations where they are not the center of attention.

  • People with this disorder are often quite flirtatious or seductive, and like to dress in a manner that draws attention to them.
  • They can be flamboyant and theatrical, exhibiting an exaggerated degree of emotional expression.
  • Yet simultaneously, their emotional expression is vague, shallow, and lacking in detail. This gives them the appearance of being disingenuous and insincere.
  • Moreover, the drama and exaggerated emotional expression often embarrasses friends and acquaintances as they may embrace even casual acquaintances with excessive ardor, or may sob uncontrollably over some minor sentimentality.

People with Histrionic Personality Disorder can appear flighty and fickle. Their behavioral style often gets in the way of truly intimate relationships, but it is also the case that they are uncomfortable being alone.

They tend to feel depressed when they are not the center of attention. When they are in relationships, they often imagine relationships to be more intimate in nature than they actually are.

 

Antisocial Personality Disorder

The Antisocial Personality Disorder is characterized by a pervasive pattern of disregard for the rights of other people that often manifests as hostility and/or aggression. Deceit and manipulation are also central features.

In many cases hostile-aggressive and deceitful behaviors may first appear during childhood.

  • These children may hurt or torment animals or people.
  • They may engage in hostile acts such as bullying or intimidating others.
  • They may have a reckless disregard for property such as setting fires.
  • They often engage in deceit, theft, and other serious violations of standard rules of conduct.
    • When this is the case, Conduct Disorder (a juvenile form of Antisocial Personality Disorder) may be an appropriate diagnosis.
    • Conduct Disorder is often considered the precursor to an Antisocial Personality Disorder.

In addition to reckless disregard for others, they often place themselves in dangerous or risky situations.
They frequently act on impulsive urges without considering the consequences. This difficulty with impulse control results in loss of employment, accidents, legal difficulties, and incarceration.

Persons with Antisocial Personality Disorder typically do not experience genuine remorse for the harm they cause others. However, they can become quite adept at feigning remorse when it is in their best interest to do so (such as when standing before a judge).

 

References for Cluster B Personality Disorders:
Link 1

 


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